Organisers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will stop using a logo that attracted controversy over claims of plagiarism, just days after pledging to stand behind the scandal-hit emblem, local media said Tuesday.
The decision reported by public broadcaster NHK and the TBS network caps off an embarrassing month for Japanese Olympic officials after plans for a $2.0 billion national stadium were ripped up due to its eye-watering cost.
The committee declined to comment on the reports, but said it would hold a press briefing Tuesday evening.
Japanese media, without citing sources, said the committee would officially scrap the emblem at the press conference due to the brewing controversy.
The final nail in the coffin may have been that designer Kenjiro Sano swiped images posted on the Internet to highlight locations in Tokyo where his logo could be displayed, media reported.
The logo has been swept up in controversy since its unveiling in July after Belgian designer Olivier Debie claimed it copied work he had done for a theatre company.
Debie has taken the International Olympic Committee to court to block it from using the logo.
The IOC has rejected the claims and Japanese officials again on Friday said Sano’s work was original and they had no plans to change it.
“We are confident that the Games’ logo design is original,” Toshiro Muto, director general of the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, said last week.
Tokyo’s logo is based around the letter “T” — for Tokyo, tomorrow and team with a red circle representing a beating heart.
The theatre’s logo features a similar shape in white against a black background.
While he denied the claims, Sano has admitted that his team copied designs found on bags used in a promotional beer campaign for Japanese drinks giant Suntory.